We want to be pretty (and functional)

In our ongoing effort to look nice and provide simple navigation for users, we have once again re-themed (to Drupal's Newslfash theme). What do you think? What other ideas/suggestions do you have for improving the EdTechTalk interface?

I love the new theming! Nice work people. The dynamicly resizing is impressive. I think the right column might be a little wider than necessary as well.

I hate to admit it, but the Google Calendar at the top and side is easy to understand. It does seem to be in Easter Standard Time (or does it do that just for me?), so maybe we should change it to GMT or indicate to people which timezone it's in. It also has a +GoogleCalendar link at the bottom, but what if you want iCal or RSS? Can it not do that? Come on Google, don't lock us in!

Also, the top navigation has a lot of stuff in it. Can we reduce that?

Wanted to echo Arvind's love for the new theme and to say that the calendar entries are in Pacific time for me.

I'm guessing that the width of the right column is twitter related.

Nice work Drupal elves--thanks!

Great work, Jeff. I really didn't like the last theme. Good luck with the awards tomorrow!



Great job Jeff. I wonder if we should go ahead and make some of the menu items context sensitive too. I'd love to turn off the subscribe button for people who are already subscribed for instance. It'd be cool to also get some more 'looks' for different types of users.


I've finally taken a closer look at the site, and tried to consider it from a newcomer's point of view. I think we want to to be inviting, friendly, and easy to use. Here are a few suggestions:

  • The most important thing is live interactivity. People come to the web site because they want to participate in a show that's on right now, or one that's been on recently that they've heard about. With that in mind, the above-the-fold (above-the-scroll?) content on the main page should have easy access to both live content and most recent archived content. Having both the calendar and the listen/watch/chat/help icons in the upper-right is paramount. I might even go as far as to say that they should be in the navigation bar, on the right side, under the search box. I could also be convinced that the sidebar should also go all the way to the top navigation, like it does on all of the other pages.
  • The need to log in is secondary. Most of the tools can be accessed without needing an account, and having a prominent login screen is off-putting. I would move the login down to the bottom of the navigation. It's there if people need it, but most people don't need it most of the time.
  • The home page header article -- not sure what that's called. But the one that lists all the shows has a typo. It says "We currently webcasts the following shows." Not being Dobby, we should probably re-word that. Actually, the list of shows is probably not as important as the most recent content. I could see it being a separate page, with a description of each show, its mission, hosts, times, etc. Maybe a drop-down menu item on the menu bar, or a list in the sidebar.
  • I do like all of the stuff in the sidebar. With the exception of the login block, I think they're ordered appropriately.
  • We do need to resolve the Ustream vs. Shoutcast thing. This isn't specifically website-related, but people are having trouble with the concept of watching audio on Sundays, and in the other shows it's causing some confusion because they're using Shoutcast. See the chat transcript of the 12/10 It's Elementary for an example.
  • We should be exploring Ajaxy, web2-style refreshing. I don't know how to do all this stuff, but if you need to do a screen refresh to see that we're streaming, and a screen refresh kicks you out of the chat room, people get frustrated.
  • The blue is growing on me. I do think that blue is way overdone on Drupal sites. I thought the puke yellow was -- different -- unique. But I can live with the blue.
  • We need to do more branding. This is more of a town hall type of thing than a web site discussion, but we do need a definitive color scheme, logo/artwork, and a better tagline. The distinguishing audio clips would also help toward this end. I should get working on that...Do we have any artists in the house?
  • Is it possible/feasible/reasonable/desirable to have shared logins among the various sites? So my ETT login also works on educationbridges, for example? It seems like there are lots of WB Drupal sites, each with its own authentication system.
Overall, I do think the site is an improvement. It's going to be a continual process, but the more we work on it, the more our community is going to grow as new people find an inviting atmosphere.

Very good ideas John. Sounds like ETT has a new Chief of Design!

Would love to address these issues during the next Brainstorm and/or ETT 'community assembly' - perhaps during the Solstice Webcastathon.